Five New Year's Resolutions for Recruiters
If your job includes hiring staff you'll know it's not an easy task.
Whether you're a line manager who only needs to hire every now and again or it's your full-time responsibility for an organisation or an agency, the challenge remains that unless you're skilled, market-aware and have the support of other people (including a budget) within the organisation, you're going to find hiring getting tougher with each year that passes.
So if you thought 2022 was hard going, hold on tight because 2023 is going to be a slog.
We know the pandemic meant around half a million people left the UK workforce due to sickness or giving up work altogether, including early retirement.
Also, 200,000 EU nationals left the UK in 2019, with the number of EU citizens searching for work in Britain falling by more than a third since Brexit.
And then consider that we have a more complex workforce with the rise of the gig economy and a generation of job seekers who won't stay with a business for more than a matter of months if it doesn't meet their needs. Think remote or flexible working, progression, money and job satisfaction as well as organisational corporate and social responsibility.
The only way to tackle your hiring troubles is going to be to educate yourself, improve your understanding and adjust your processes and procedures, hell even your company culture and attitude, to ensure you can attract the right people, to make yourself a better, more relevant hirer.
Personally, I've got more than 23 years as an accountancy recruitment specialist under my belt and I am still learning about recruitment every day.
That's reading publications, contributing to and reading monthly market surveys, formal professional training, reading books, talking to hiring managers about their challenges, talking to candidates about their needs, networking with other recruiters from all over the UK, talking to recruitment suppliers about trends they are observing, attending recruitment events, speaking with HR professionals about the day to day issues they are managing with staff every day and keeping up with the news (online only these days since TV news is too sensational and lacking in substance).
Here are just five things you can make resolutions in 2023 to dramatically impact your hiring challenges.
1 Get the hiring manager 100% on board
In the words of Rodgers and Hammerstein "Let's start at the very beginning · A very good place to start. When you read you begin with A-B-C. (When you sing you begin with Do-Re-Mi)"
If you're just being given a job spec, that maybe hasn't been reviewed since the last person started in post, and told to go off and find someone then it's a wonder you're filling any jobs, to be honest.
You can only fill a post if you have 100% buy-in from the people that matter.
Anyone in the process that tells you they are too busy to spend up to an hour talking to you about the responsibilities, the purpose, the department structure, the challenges, the career opportunity (or not), the package etc. will also be too busy to review any CVs you send or book interviews within a reasonable timescale. And you'll fail.
Sit down face-to-face or on Zoom and start building a partnership with the hiring manager to ensure they get the person they want and need.
2 Write a decent job advert
Because you did everything required in #1, this will come to be a lot easier.
A job advert is NOT. I repeat, NOT. A job specification.
It's a piece of marketing which will engage the reader and will make them feel compelled to apply.
Job advert writing is a skill in itself with plenty of experienced recruiters still getting it wrong. If you have a marketing department internally, engage them to help or get educated externally.
We have used Mitch Sullivan and Jackie Barrie of Copywriting for Recruiters with huge success.
It takes practice, but if you learn one thing here today it's that the job advert should not be about you, the company. It should be about the person to who you'd like to apply. Talk to them.
Yes, some company information can be useful, put it down the bottom, don't lead with it. And when you read it back keep asking yourself 'so what?'.
If you lead with 'We're a market-leading x company'. There's your very first 'so what?' The reader does not care, frankly. What does your market-leading position mean to them? That might be your 'so what'.
Try " You're wanting to work for a solid business that can offer job security and career progression ...."
3 Respond to job applicants faster and better
No one is too busy to read and action the job applications that come in on a daily basis. No one. It's a lie you're telling yourself (or the allusive line manager that expects you to fill a job without their input and support).
You've announced to the planet that you're tasked with filling an open job position to enable the business to function and/or grow. So how committed are YOU to filling it?
You announced, and people applied, as you hoped. And you need to make time in your day, every day to review and act.
A simple, thanks but no thanks email to those that are unsuitable, as quickly as possible so they know where they stand and a closer inspection of those that fit the brief.
On the same day, I would be initiating communication with those applicants to ensure they remain engaged. An email to arrange a telephone call initially is appropriate.
If you don't do this routinely, you're losing good people to other businesses which are, and are keeping up the pace throughout the process.
4 Improve job interviews
I'm going to provide a link here for our free guide.
You might be an experienced interviewer but are your hiring managers? Probably not.
Whilst brushing up on your own skills, also make it part of your process to send this guide to all line managers at the same time as confirming applicant job interviews with them.
You'll not offend anyone if it's due process and unless all your hiring managers have had training on the subject, many will appreciate the support.
Please trust me when I say that some of your managers will be TERRIBLE interviewers and it needs fixing.
5 Educate yourself on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
This is a very complex subject to master but in a one-day master class with a professional, it's possible to learn the very foundations of this subject and a great place to start on a journey of learning.
Because if you're going to attract and retain staff this year and beyond you need to understand yourself, your organisation, the people you work with and potential job applicants a whole lot better.
The time spent will not only benefit your organisation but will make you a better human being as you learn to view the world through the lens of other people.
Professionally, I have been able to attract and hire people who would not otherwise have applied for a job based on their needs.
Personally, I have become more tolerant and understanding of friends, family and complete strangers based on my accumulated knowledge (which I am building on daily).
I can recommend Jo Major, Diversity in Recruitment, as an authority on this subject.
If you're not one for New Year's Resolutions as a rule, like me, then call it a training schedule, but please do use your time in 2023 wisely. Improving all of the above will have an extraordinarily positive effect on your results and reduce levels of frustration!
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Contact us now for a free, no-obligation chat. Contact Clare here.
Clare Wight is the founder and Managing Director of Clarity Appointments, an independent recruitment specialist. She served as a Regional Director for The Employment Agents Movement, supporting other independent recruiters.
She remains an active member of Recconnect (formerly Members Only), a recruitment leadership network promoting high ethical standards, collaboration, diversity, equity and inclusion.
She believes business owners are more fulfilled and higher-performing when they provide emotional and professional business support to other business owners, even those they deem to be competitors. She does this actively, whilst challenging and updating her skills and knowledge of the recruitment sector, enabling her to offer the best advice to firms looking to make their next hire.